Carve Magazine Issue 191
New issue is in stores this week and available on the app now for you iPad folk. For next time how about letting the postie take the strain and subscribe?!
Who was the first surfer? What drove them to stand on a plank hurtling shoreward? The first woman, or perhaps even a man, bored of the prone belly-boarding frolics on rough-hewn wood or reed craft* decided to say ‘hold my beer’ one day and stand up. Which leads to the obvious point: at that moment in history they were the only surfer. Can you imagine the reaction?
“Mabel, what the fork are you doing? We’re riding the waves not walking on water! Get down right now! It’s ungainly, and possibly an insult to whichever deity we currently believe controls the sea.”
Change is always regarded with suspicion. Boards getting shorter, fins going from one to three, performance going into the air, surfing becoming mainstream. For a supposed counterculture surfing can be deeply conservative when forced in a new direction. So the prone to standing paradigm shift must have been a doozy. Campfire gossip about this new fangled way of riding the ocean-going rollers must’ve been heated. Will it catch on? Is it an insult to the proud culture of flopping around on belly boards? What happens next? Is it too damn hard? And how the hell do you decide which foot goes forward? The forethought and skill to ride a board carved out of a log (or bundled reeds) with stone tools would’ve been immense; especially as it was pure recreation. Our ancestors engaged in finding food, shelter and safety. Leisure time wasn’t a consideration. So surfing was one of the early, selfish for sure, hobbies or pastimes. “Can’t believe he’s riding the breakers again instead of tending the crops or hunting boars!” Maybe this is why the Easter Island culture failed. Chopped down all the trees to make kick-ass big olos to shred the gnar didn’t they? We are, of course, far removed from such matters. Change still happens. We can never put the genie back in the lamp. ‘Unspoilt by progress’ is a slogan merely on antique mirrors in old-school pubs. We are the now. The latest, greatest, best boards and suits are available at the mere press of a pocket computer. We can surf anywhere in the world if we have enough green in the bank. But some things don’t change, that first time you stand up on a surfboard the thrill echoes through the ages. ‘I am walking on water! I am a surfing god!’ Albeit briefly. But those few seconds of the first successful stand are priceless. Not to mention the transformational moment you go from being someone interested in surfing to being a surfer.
If you’ve been with us for years, thank you, if you’ve just started your surfing journey, welcome to the crew.
Now go get wet.
*The jury is still out on who the first surfers were, the Polynesians on their carved wooden craft or the Peruvians and their reed-based goat boats. It’s kind of nice not to know. Imagine if we knew who the first surfer was and they were an utter douchebag?